The main purposes of the grout in a tile installation are to seal the joints, to protect the joints from dirt/stains, and to act as a type of expansion joint to withstand expansion and contraction of the tile. But, in addition, the choice of colour can radically change the look of the installation.
Traditionally grout was white or grey, but it is now produced in a large range of colours which can contrast with or complement the colour of the tiles, or in some cases match so closely that the grout joints are difficult to discern.
In the past bright yellows, reds and even sparkly grouts were available but these have fallen out of favour and largely been discontinued as shades of grout tend to follow interior colour trends and contemporary interior design favours more subtle tones.
Kerakoll has taken the design concept one step further by asking the renowned designer and architect, Piero Lissoni to choose the colours for its new grout collection, Fugabella Color. The result is a range of 50 colours – from delicate neutrals and gentle pastels to rich, intense shades – that is perfect for modern interior design and can either be used to create the illusion of a continuous surface or as an integral part of the design, for example in a mosaic installation.
It would seem obvious that the grout needs to be fit for purpose with colours that do not fade, stain or otherwise become disfigured and unsightly over time, although this is not always the case. UV light can bleach colours, and cementitious grouts have been particularly prone to Portlandite, the unsightly salt and lime efflorescence caused by the inclusion of Portland cement. However new research has resulted in a product which does not have these problems.
Kerakoll’s Fugabella Color is a resin-cement hybrid formulated with a new mix of pure, natural binders which have been hybridised with resin binders and other additives.
It has a very wide range of particularly rich intense colours which are due to the particles used in the grout. These have a defined shape and an optimised distribution of sizes which results in even colour distribution that remains stable over time.
Not only does Fugabella Color maintain the depth of colour but as resin-cement grout does not contain Portland cement it is not subject to Portlandite. What is more, the resin hybrid formulation remains workable without changing consistency in the bucket, so there is no need to add water which can lead to colour inconsistencies in traditional cementitious grouts.
Specifying the right grout
There is no point in picking out the perfect colour if the grout is not suitable for the situation in which it is to be used.
Traditional grouts split into two types. The first is cementitious grout (CG) which is a powdered mix of cement binder and aggregate to which water is added. The more advanced formulations in this group have additional components including polymers to give them enhanced characteristics such as mould and bacteria resistance or faster setting times.
The second type is reactive resin grout (RG) – this is normally epoxy resin mixed with a filler: the type of filler depends on the brand of grout. Epoxy grouts tend to be more expensive than conventional cement based grouts. They can also be more difficult to use and can cause allergic reactions in the people applying them. However they set harder and do not break down as easily as the cementitious variety giving them advantages in certain situations such as areas where hygiene is very important.
Fugabella Color is classified as CG2 WA, an advanced cementitious grout with enhanced water resistance and antibacterial properties.
However the revolutionary formulation of this resin-cement hybrid gives it performance values very close to the standards set for reactive resin grouts for abrasion resistance, colour uniformity and durability, water-repellence, stain resistance and ease of maintenance without the additional cost and difficulty of application of RG grouts.
It can be used in a wide range of temperatures and environmental conditions both internally and externally, meaning that you can specify the same grout for everything rather than having to choose one that fits the on-site conditions, whether grouting a bathroom, a pool, an external patio or an industrial floor.
Fugabella Color is a green product with no risk labelling. Kerakoll’s researchers have replaced the chemical and synthetic additives still widely used in traditional grouts to benefit the health of the tiler, the building occupants and the environment.
More specifically Kerakoll has made a totally green choice by simply using natural bioactive substances to protect against mould and fungus, rather than choosing biocides that are suspected of causing cancer and are dangerous for the environment and human health. The mix of natural binders and additives has very low VOC emissions, a particular problem with RG grouts.
The purity of the materials employed along with the use of specific natural additives gives reduced water absorption, lower levels of joint staining and complete protection from common acid pH substances.
A revolutionary bonding system gives superior resistance to abrasion of 425 mm³ for Fugabella Color after 72 hours compared to 970 mm³ for a standard cementitious grout.
All of this adds up to a highly durable grout that is safe, simple to choose and easy to use, available in a range of beautiful colours.
The grout is accompanied by a coordinating range of silicone sealants in the same colours, allowing the aesthetic effect to be continued throughout the installation.
If in doubt seek technical advice on what is the best product to specify for your project.
Tilemaster Adhesives Ltd’s team is always on hand to give advice and is frequently involved in the specification process to ensure that the right products are chosen to enable the project to run smoothly and be fit for purpose when complete, please do contact them if you have any questions.